Good to meet you Stewart Devitt
My first contact with the Guardian Weekly was in the Belfast warehouse of the Irish print retailer Eason, sorting through the bundles of newspapers and magazines brought back from the docks. It often meant clambering into the back of the van to pull out the sought-after copies to ensure timely delivery. Failure to do so could trigger an irate phone call from my boss, Miss Marshall.
She owned a local newsagency and prided herself on stocking any newspaper or periodical a customer wanted. A missed deadline therefore had the potential to lead to a major crisis. Maybe this experience accounted for my own behaviour when I transferred over to the retail side of the business: dealing with customers wanting their copy of the Guardian Weekly, and wanting it on time. This guardianship of the paper continued from Belfast to Dublin to Sheffield and it was automatic to watch out for copies and have them on the shelves on the right day. When I left the newspaper trade I may have thought the romance was over. How wrong could I have been! Finding myself in Auckland, New Zealand, where Radio NZ covers local and world news in about 10 minutes, the Guardian Weekly became a lifeline to world events.
Great as this was, frustrations set in with the delay in me getting copies. Subconsciously I must have realised that Miss Marshall would never have accepted this so I took the only sensible option and became a subscriber. She most likely is looking down at me now, proud of the little role she played in strengthening my link with the Guardian Weekly.